October 17, 2013
A Look At The Crunch Of Hunter: The Reckoning
The Classic World of Darkness series is mainly known for its big three; Vampire: The Masquerade, Werewolf: The Apocalypse, and Mage: The Ascension, but these are not the only three games that make up its roster. In a world populated by so many monsters, there are always those who are going to take up the cause and fight back against that darkness. Enter the hunters, and thus, Hunter: The Reckoning.
As in the other titles of the WoD lineup, players were given the option of various archetypes of hunters. These were based on the virtues of Mercy, Zeal, and Vision, with multiple creeds within each one. For example, if you chose who play a hunter who uses Mercy as their virtue, you could belong to the creeds of the Innocent, the Martyr, or the Redeemer. Each of the various creeds endowed the hunters with various powers based on their virtue. Originally, the game was composed of seven creeds, with the virtue of Vision only having a single creed, the Visionaries, associated with it. In later splat-books, the creeds of the Hermits and the Waywards were introduced as player options, though due to their natures, were much more difficult to play in many Hunter games.
Hunters had a plethora of mystical abilities bestowed upon them by their unknown benefactors so that they were able to face off against creatures who, by their very nature, were greater than themselves. This was done to give the player characters a fighting edge against the other supernatural forces of the Classic World of Darkness without having to change much of the mechanics of the other games. This way, if the Storyteller wanted to have his band of hunters face off against an ancient vampire, he could just open up Vampire: The Masquerade and write up a non-player character from that. It was the first, and really the only, of the World of Darkness games that ever encouraged any sort of cross-over between them. Even so, hunters were still something of a “low-man on the totem-pole” in terms of how powerful of characters they were. This was to encourage groups of hunters to work together in order to take down single opponents, giving them the advantage of numbers. Even so, mortality rates among player characters were very high in this game, given the nature of what they were doing; hunting the things that typically hunted them. The sheep were not meant to fight back against the wolves, after all, even when the sheep are given super-powers.
Hunter: The Reckoning uses the same Storytelling system as the other Classic World of Darkness games, focusing a great deal on narrative over mechanics. Even so, I have never been a great fan of the game. It can be fun, sure, but it always felt a little too campy to me. Given that the player characters were mean to ordinary people suddenly imbued with supernatural powers, including an ability to discern the supernatural from ordinary people, it felt as though this were some sort of World of Darkness version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. When I picked up Hunter: The Reckoning, I was hoping for a game in which players were given a chance to play as the various hunter organizations depicted in the other games, such as the Society of Leopold from Vampire, Pentex from Werewolf, or the Inquisition from Mage. My hopeful expectations were not met, and so this was one game I never really got into.
I will add in closing, however, that its successor in the New World of Darkness, called Hunter: The Vigil, is a game that I would recommend highly. If you are looking for the same things I was in a hunter game, then this is the game for you.
Image Credit: White Wolf Publishing